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Rep. Omar, alongside Sen. Bernie Sanders, releases student-debt cancellation bill

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders
Sen. Bernie Sanders, center, shown with Rep. Pramila Jayapal, left, and Rep. Ilhan Omar, right, during a Facebook Live question and answer session on Monday.

Rep. Ilhan Omar released legislation on Monday that would completely cancel upwards of $1.6 trillion in student debt.

Omar released her bill, the Student Debt Cancellation Act of 2019, as part of a package with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Washington), two other prominent members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

“I stand before you on behalf of 45 million Americans,” Omar said in front of the Capitol on Monday. “45 million people who feel they can’t purchase their first home. 45 million people who feel like they can’t start a family. 45 million people who have dreams of opening up a business or have dreams of public service, but are held back by a mountain of debt.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) also spoke in favor of the legislation, as did Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers.

Jayapal will introduce a companion bill in the House that would make public college free, and Sanders will introduce a bill in the Senate with both components as the newest version of his College for All Act. 

The authors of the package suggest that it would cost $2.2 trillion over a decade and be paid for by a tax of 0.5 percent on stock trades, a 0.1 percent fee on bonds, and a .0005 percent fee on derivatives. Sanders’ office has suggested that the tax could bring in $2.4 trillion over 10 years, and potentially pay for other initiatives as well. The Congressional Budget Office, which typically reviews the cost of legislation when a committee approves a bill, has not yet produced an analysis of the tax revenue potentially raised by the bill or the costs associated with it.

The bill, and the package as a whole, follows through on Omar’s campaign rhetoric — she ran in 2018 in part on tuition-free and debt-free two-and four-year public colleges and universities; an expansion of Federal Pell grants, which are used to cover education expenses; and the cancellation of all student debt (both private and federal loans).

Omar’s portion of the package directs the Department of Education to cancel all student loans taken out since 1965 within 180 days of the bill being signed. It also grants the Education and Treasury departments the ability to temporarily purchase and then cancel all private student loans.

Even Omar, along with 44 Democrats and 24 Republicans, still has student loans to pay off, according to Roll Call. “I am part of the 45 million people who are shackled with the burdens of student debt,” Omar recently told Ana Marie Cox in an interview. “And what that does, really, is stops prosperity for all of us.”

Presidential proposals

The package of bills, fronted by Sanders, comes just days before the first Democratic presidential debates. It draws a stark contrast between the Vermont senator and his colleagues, taking things a step further than what both Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, proposed in April and what candidate Julián Castro proposed in May.

Warren’s plan, which will be released in the coming weeks as a bill in both chambers by Warren and House Majority Whip Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina, would make all public colleges in the U.S. free and eliminate student loan debt of millions of Americans — but not all Americans. The plan would allow households making less than $100,000 to receive a $50,000 debt cancellation, with all households making under $250,000 able to receive some amount of cancelation. Her plan would be paid for with a 2 percent tax on wealth above $50 million and a 1 percent tax on wealth over $1 billion.

Castro, former San Antonio mayor and secretary of Housing and Urban Development, has proposed a plan that would offer partial loan forgiveness for some of those who receive public assistance benefits like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or Medicaid.

The schism between Sander’s plan and what Warren and Castro are offering is clear: Sanders’ package erases all student debt, including student debt held by the wealthy, while Warren’s plan pares that back a bit and Castro’s pares that back even more. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, also running for president, has called student loan forgiveness unrealistic.

“You may ask, ‘Why full cancellation? What about the people who can pay off their debt?’” Omar asked rhetorically on Monday.

“Well, let me say this: The children of Donald Trump aren’t taking out student loans. Canceling student debt is a problem of the poor and the middle class, not of the rich,” she said.

“So rather than making exceptions, let’s end this crisis entirely once and for all.”

Comments (118)

  1. Submitted by Karen Sandness on 06/24/2019 - 05:02 pm.

    I paid off my graduate school student loans in 1994 at the rate of $90 per month, perfectly affordable even in those days. Some of them were federal–not federally insured, but federal– loans with an interest rate of 2%.

    If I had joined the military or the Peace Corps and stayed for five years or had taught in a K-12 school in a poor area for five years, these loans would have been 100% forgiven.

    But of course, in the rush to privatize everything that wasn’t nailed down, student loans are now in the hands of the banks, and 2% interest is a thing of the past.

    While full forgiveness might be too much for all parties to swallow, I’d like to see as a halfway measure full forgiveness for anyone who has paid off their principal and low-interest (or may no-interest) refinancing for the rest.

    Relieving young people of the burden of student loans (constantly increasing, despite regular payments, due to “the miracle of compound interest”) would be a massive stimulus to the economy. A person relieved of paying hundreds of dollars per month could stop living hand-to-mouth and start saving or meeting long-deferred needs, both of which would be good for the larger economy.

    Yeah, yeah, I’ve seen those stories headlined, “I paid off a gazillion dollars worth of student loans in two years.” But if you read the story, you find out that the person in question not only has a six-figure job (obtained through connections) but is living in a condo that their parents bought for them.

    • Submitted by lisa miller on 06/24/2019 - 09:28 pm.

      I agree on a halfway measure and perhaps offering 1% interest which was done some years ago. I graduated in the 80’s 20,000 in debt with another grad school debt of 20,000 and about 20 yrs ago was offered a 1% interest fed refinance which helped and I am in the public service field with a middle class(and hanging on) salary. The problem with forgiveness is I doubt wall street pays for it and then its the rest of us paying. Also it fails to take into account different pay levels. I also agree there are public service programs for some to reduce the level–Peace Corps, some child welfare programs, etc.. It also fails to address future generations who will be stuck with debt. I would rather see more of a focus on reducing costs especially admin costs of universities.

    • Submitted by Raj Maddali on 06/25/2019 - 08:38 am.

      Sorry, most people who earn good money didn’t get those jobs cause their uncle gave it to them or their Daddy gave them a condo. What you’re trying to mask is a culture of bad decision making that you want the rest of the country to subsidize.

      If a person studied say art literature in college and took a $50K loan, that person should be accountable for that decision. Did he/she look in the newspaper and discover they’d get no job more than say $30K for that ?

      Sorry, not everybody rode the easy train. There are families and students who saved , scrimped and educated their children with realistic expectations of the world ahead.

      • Submitted by Joe Schantz on 06/25/2019 - 11:07 am.

        First of all…who looks for job postings in the newspaper anymore? Not sure that’s a thing anymore

        Second…I get that it’s fun to point to degrees that (in your narrow view) aren’t a worthwhile pursuit because they don’t pay well, but for every art history major there are dozens of teachers struggling to payback loans on $45k a year. Plenty more living in expensive metros can’t do it on $75k a year. Are you really saying they don’t deserve relief because they chose not to become computer engineers?

        • Submitted by Raj Maddali on 06/25/2019 - 04:06 pm.

          Umm, where did i state that art history is not a worthwhile pursuit. I point out that if you decide to pursue such a major then you must be aware of the financial implications of taking on debt. If then you deliberately take on a mountain of debt you shouldn’t be crying wolf that society should bail you out.

          Lets say you decide to pursue a degree in a private university and then go to Europe. I’m sure the “learning experience” in the bucolic settings of a Private U with its Christmas Ensemble and European guided tours where very educational. But that’s a choice you made.

          Compare that to the Chinese immigrant or Pakistani immigrant who works night at their parents Chinese / Halal shop and goes to Brooklyn Community College. Since that kid graduated relatively debt free should they be subsidizing your “experience”.

          If you want to throw teachers in, then you’re fully aware of what a teaching degree pays. But instead of Commuity college for two years you decide to go to Bucolic U in Bucolic City then whose fault is it. Even at $45K as a teacher you should be able to put aside about $5k a year to pay off loans. Else try working summers. In a big city don’t get a car and use those savings to compensate the cost of living.

          Also subsidizing middle class kids who take on debt is also a slap in the face of the poor and minority kids who server our country in the Army for years to get some cash to go to college. Or the poor refugee who saved for years just to get ESL classes.

          These are choices you make. I’ve never ordered a drink at a restaurant more than 10 times in my life cause i like to pay as i go. Choices.

          • Submitted by Joe Schantz on 06/26/2019 - 01:52 pm.

            You’re describing a higher education landscape that just does not exist. Yes you can get a license from a state school but it’s going to limit your opportunities unlike a masters degree from prestigious teachers college. You’re going to struggle to find a teaching job much less advance in your career with a two year degree from a community college. The expectations are much, much higher.

            You’re asking student to hobble their future career by being cheap with the educational choices. You’re also pitting students with different experiences against each other and saying one shouldn’t subsidize the other; unless the recently arrived immigrants you’re describing are bond traders or hedge fund managers they’re not subsidizing anything under this proposal.

            • Submitted by Raj Maddali on 06/26/2019 - 08:41 pm.

              A two year community college is a path to university that makes things affordable. Its not the end of your education. Also, it is simply not a fact that a teachers license from a state school is going to harm your chances. That is simply not true. Do you wish me to believe that all the most highly senior teachers from Minnesota are only/mostly from private schools ? That is a statement bereft of any factual evidence.

              If one does well on that path, they can then apply for ME/EDD in better schools where they can obtain a teaching assistantship etc. Incidentally thats the path the Chief of Google Search took. He went to UM Duluth for Computer Science and then PHD at a bigger School. Sayta Nadella the CEO of Microsoft went first to UW Milwaukee.

              By asking an immigrant, who paid his childrens’ way through community college and university, to pay taxes for the govt to use that money to write off loans of others is infact a subsidy that flows from his/ her tax dollars. You don’t think immigrants pay taxes ?

      • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/25/2019 - 11:23 am.

        So what is the suggestion here? That folks passionate and skilled enough to be interested enough in an “art literature” degree, and whatever career it might engender should instead pigeonhole themselves into a career field for which they have no interest or aptitude OR that failing that, they should further restrict their lifetime earnings potential, and the benefit that potential might have as a consumer to the economy, by delaying their education to some point in the future that it can in someway financed without debt, or forgoing it all together. How is anyone’s life improved by either of those paths and how is society served?

        • Submitted by Toni Bergner on 06/26/2019 - 04:26 pm.

          It would seem that people need to understand the difference between a hobby and a career/job/work that will pay for their lifestyle. Maybe that art history major could satisfy their passion and skills as a hobby rather than taking out a huge amount of debt KNOWING that they will have extreme difficulty funding their education which will lead to employment. But, that is not the world we live in now as the priority seems to be ‘I want what I want and I get to have it’ ….. even if it is a bad decision. I don’t want to fund anyone’s hobby or their interests or their passions.

          There is an assumption that every kid who goes to college is going there to work and study hard and conscientiously. I know that there are some who go to party, to get away from home, to be with a friend/boyfriend/girlfriend, find themselves, etc. I don’t want to waste my money paying for their ‘education.’

          I have always felt that anything that is free becomes worthless …. we all need to work for what we receive. That seems pretty simple.

      • Submitted by B. Dalager on 06/25/2019 - 12:26 pm.

        Hey, 17-year-old! You’d better predict what a viable job will be 10 years from now, and select your major based on it!

        • Submitted by Raj Maddali on 06/25/2019 - 01:01 pm.

          Hey 21 year old still can’t predict what the job market is going to be after 4 years of college. Or is it that you were too engrossed in Rennaisance Art that the years just passed by.

          Hey 25 year old still can’t fathom the job market is going to be after 4 years of a low paying job. Or is it now that you still too engrossed in Rennaissance Art that the years just passed by ?

          Hey 25 year old still can’t fathom the job market after 10 years so that you can retrain yourself. Or is it now that you still too engrossed in Rennaissance Art that the years just passed by and now Bernie has a free for all ?

          • Submitted by Raj Maddali on 06/25/2019 - 01:02 pm.

            The last one should read “30”

            • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/25/2019 - 01:32 pm.

              So you’re saying they should just keep taking debt every time the job market shifts? That seems unwise.

              • Submitted by Raj Maddali on 06/26/2019 - 08:09 am.

                How about a) Saving Money b) Part Time education c) Online education d) Self Education. The horror, so many choices a reasonable person can take without drowning in debt.

                • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/26/2019 - 09:28 am.

                  Problem be e. None of the above options allow your hypothetical achiever to keep pace in any meaningful way with the swings of the job market, leaving them to squander large portions of their potential lifetime earning potential. All to sate some ephemeral concept of financial morality. It’s fine that YOU’RE a miser, but it’s not fine to demand that all others must adhere to your personal standards or face financial ruin.

                  • Submitted by Raj Maddali on 06/26/2019 - 08:21 pm.

                    That’s how the responsible worker goes about navigating the todays economy and job market. Its called common sense. And yes i probably a miser with my money. Better that than a mooch on public money that should go to more deserving causes than persons who believe that govt. should fund every bad economic decision. And yes it’s fine to demand that govt. don’t spend on such person. I have a vote that counts the same as yours.

                    • Submitted by B. Dalager on 06/28/2019 - 11:56 am.

                      Lulz, yeah, show me a hiring manager willing to accept “self-educated” in lieu of a bachelor’s degree.

    • Submitted by bob ski on 09/30/2019 - 10:55 am.

      Banks have been out of the student loan business for a long time. The real problem is the government basically creating free money then pushing people to take out loans.

  2. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 06/25/2019 - 07:13 am.

    I am a pretty liberal guy, but I have to say I am uncomfortable with bill. It just looks to much like Sanders and Omar are trying to buy votes with taxpayer money.

    • Submitted by Joe Schantz on 06/25/2019 - 11:31 am.

      Well they’re in luck because my vote is absolutely up for sale!

      If we’ve said the issue is important to us, that it’s narrowing our choices and adversely impacting our lives, that’s not pandering. That’s listening and responding to your constituents.

  3. Submitted by Brian Hanson on 06/25/2019 - 08:05 am.

    Given that student loans also pay for food/housing, are Sanders/Omar really saying that people should get their food/housing and tuition paid for if they are going to college?

    Because that’s a pretty big moral hazard.

    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/25/2019 - 10:10 am.

      Why, is struggling to afford food and housing supposed to be an essential part of learning to be a thoughtful and intelligent member of society (the ACTUAL purpose of higher education)?

  4. Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 06/25/2019 - 08:51 am.

    If debt is not periodically wiped out, over time more and more people become debt-serfs to consolidated creditors. We humans have understood that for 5000 years; in America we celebrate the consolidation of credit and shame those falling inevitably into debt-servitude.

    Get it, Boomers? Your legacy/future depends on getting some clarity on historical realities, and letting go of a me/mine ethos that is chaining an entire generation to your comfy retirement/current largess.

    If something is not done about debt generally, across the board in this society, then more and more people will be turned into debt-serfs, until such time as American citizens remember that America was meant for all of us, not just the top 1-5% and Boomers get their retirement taken away….

  5. Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/25/2019 - 08:52 am.

    Each of us should think hard about opposition to this plan. If you find some legitimate gripe regarding who pays, what’s the plan for the future etc…,fine, those points can be debated. If one’s opposition is rooted in the notion that these borrowers need to “learn a lesson”, or “but, I paid MY debt off, why can’t they?”, one needs to really examine why it is that forcing others to suffer the same pain one has experienced oneself is in any way an objective policy concern, and try to take a look at the larger societal ills such a plan may address. Nothing good will come of forcing an entire generation into financial penury, and those who are dependent on this generation for their retirement security might want to think long and hard about the implications to their OWN security such a situation will create.

    • Submitted by Rory Kramer on 06/25/2019 - 10:07 am.

      Maybe college students should be taught a lesson in that if you spend your student loan money on stuff other than the basics-room/board, food, utilities-your loans shouldn’t be forgiven. I attended the U of M back in the mid-2000s and on more than just a couple occasions I would overhear students talking about how they were going to buy a 60″ flatscreen tv or the latest gaming system with their student loan check. You could usually tell when the checks arrived as there would be cardboard boxes that once held tv’s or whatnot shortly after the loan checks got deposited. If a student doesn’t have a plan going into college on how they’re going to pay back the loans maybe they should wait a year or three until they have enough money saved up to go to college.

      • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/25/2019 - 10:50 am.

        Yes, and welfare recipients are just squandering their food stamps on lobster and caviar. Envy of outlying bad actors is not grounds for burying an entire generation in inescapable debt, no matter how much it might satisfy one’s desire for personal retribution.

      • Submitted by B. Dalager on 06/25/2019 - 12:29 pm.

        “A year or three” doing what job that only requires a high school diploma, exactly? A “year or three” of full time, minimum wage work, before taxes, will pay for tuition and fees at the U for four years… but that’s assuming the person doesn’t eat, buy clothing, buy toiletries, pay rent, have medical expenses, ever go to a movie/concert/sporting event, take public transportation/own a vehicle, or basically ANYTHING else. It’s an unrealistic expectation to the point of fiction.

        • Submitted by Raj Maddali on 06/26/2019 - 08:12 am.

          Community college ? But why would anyone take a reasonable choice like that if as Danny Devito put it “Other Peoples Money” is for the taking.

          • Submitted by B. Dalager on 06/28/2019 - 11:57 am.

            So they can get an associate degree… which is good for nothing if an employer is requiring a bachelor’s degree.

            We can absolutely have a discussion about degree snobbery (I’m anti-) but you need to deal with the world as it is, not as you wish it were.

      • Submitted by Pat Terry on 06/25/2019 - 02:20 pm.

        First, thanks for your anecdotal evidence. The overhead conversations and cardboard boxes evidence was quite compelling.

        Moving on, though, how much does a big screen TV cost (on a side note – does anyone buy small TVs anymore?). $500? $700? How about a gaming system? $300?

        I ask because the student loan debts we are talking about are in the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. No one is $80,000 in debt because the bought a TV and an X-box. Also, are those really luxury items? Is it outrageous to own a TV? To play video games? I don’t find students spending money on those kinds of things troubling at all.

        • Submitted by Raj Maddali on 06/26/2019 - 08:14 am.

          The endless debt all starts somewhere. A college kid with a large flat screen TV is not an indicator of bad choices ? Oh well. Now you know why most subarbanites refuse to subsidize such schemes and yawn when the Teachers Union howls “More Money For the Children”. A complete lack of accountability.

          • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/26/2019 - 02:15 pm.

            What exactly are you suggesting college SHOULD be like? Shall we push our students to the breaking point of stress, like say Japan for example. You’re aware of their suicide rates, yes? Do you honestly expect that students should not have entertainment as an option during their college years? How about after? Should we all be working 100 hour weeks to live up to your ideal?

    • Submitted by Karen Sandness on 06/27/2019 - 10:24 am.

      When I was a college freshman in 1968-69, annual tuition for a commuter student was $375 ($125 per quarter) or 300 times the minimum wage.

      It was relatively easy to work one’s way through college. A summer job and a few hours each week during the school year would do the trick.

      It will be $15,000 in 2019-2020, or what private colleges charged in the early 1990s. Put another way, it is a little over 1500 times the new Minnesota minimum wage of $9.86, so a five-fold increase in real terms.

      To afford university tuition–just tuition, no textbooks, lab fees, bus fare, or anything else that students need–a student would have to work four hours a day, every day of the year, no time off for weekends of holidays.

      Any boomer who smugly says, “I sacrificed to work my way through college” may not realize that today’s students are living in a different world.

      • Submitted by Raj Maddali on 06/27/2019 - 04:14 pm.

        First you ignore the multiple options available for one to pursue educational opportunities. Community College, Online, Smaller Schools. You just pick the most expensive option to make a case. At $12 wage which is far more common than the minimum wage and $10000 (Community College and/or smaller State School ) lowers the multiple far more than your’e portraying.

        Second you ignore the greater prevalence of higher paying summer paying jobs / internships that are available today. All that help in lowering the debt burden.

        Thirdly you ignore the fact that the Prime Rate of Interest was far higher then than now

        Fourth you ignore options like PSEO that gives a student an option to complete a huge number (30) of college credits before graduating high school

  6. Submitted by Paul Yochim on 06/25/2019 - 08:56 am.

    It is just another way that a tired old man is trying to appeal to the younger generation. Next should the government pay off their credit card debt? Studies have shown that a lot of these younger folks credit card debts are composed of designer clothing and entertainment.

    I racked up close to a six figure debt in medical school and had it paid off by age 43. I didn’t buy sports cars or big homes. I was pretty frugal. And while we’re on the subject, let’s talk abut the rising cost of education, especially medical school. Pretty much unaffordable for the kid from a middle class family who wants to become a doctor.

    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/25/2019 - 10:00 am.

      You paid off your medical school debt with a doctor’s salary? Shocking. I will admit, how out of touch so many members of society are with the current state of crushing indebtedness that college graduates are experiencing is troubling. Just how do you expect society to function when an entire generation is forced to forestall moving toward adult prosperity in order to service never ending debt? Do you just expect the economy to keep humming along when no one can afford a home, make any consumer purchases, start families, or become entrepreneurs?

      • Submitted by Paul Yochim on 06/25/2019 - 01:00 pm.

        Matt, wake up. It is a choice that I made. I knew going into it that I would be working nights, weekends, holidays and summers. I knew that the rewards would be substantial. Do you really think that working as a barista in a coffee shop with a Harvard degree in Pre-medieval art should fetch what a physician makes? The problem is that the cost of education in some of these fields in these elite institutions is out of proportion to what one can earn, if they can find a job at all.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 06/25/2019 - 01:31 pm.

          I’ve known a few people who have majored in the humanities. Not a one of them has had the expectation that their educational choices would make them rich on their own (i.e. they knew they weren’t learning a useful trade). Instead, they used the critical thinking, analytic, and communications skills to work their way into reasonable, if not lavish, economic situations.

          Of course, humanities majors seem to be disappearing. Virtually every college student I know to day is studying nursing, some species of business, or law enforcement.

        • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/25/2019 - 01:36 pm.

          I think you should be careful what you wish for. Should anyone ever heed the advice of privileged professionals like yourself and flock to only the career fields you advocate, you might find the going rate for your services less than you might like. After all, you’re not trying to suggest you have some special quality that distinguishes you from all those you deride, right?

          • Submitted by Raj Maddali on 06/26/2019 - 08:19 am.

            The privilege that you point out was earned. Not give to him. He isn’t deriding but rather pointing out a series of horrible choices that people make. Yes he has a special quality – the quality of studying , making reasonable choices and earning a degree within a rational framework of choices.

            • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/26/2019 - 09:32 am.

              No, that is merely an assumption on your part. He is privileged now, as a member of a profession who’s ranks are protected by the gatekeeper that is the ridiculously high cost of medical school.

              • Submitted by Raj Maddali on 06/26/2019 - 08:17 pm.

                Sorry there’s no assumption on my part. Again, the privilege you point to is an earned one. Not granted like some duchy in France or England. And many immigrant and poor families seek out and attain that privilege for their children through a process of thoughtful decision making and academic achievement.

              • Submitted by Paul Yochim on 06/27/2019 - 09:14 am.

                Matt, actually I am no longer in medicine. I was able to retire at a relatively young age because of some good financial decisions and reasonable expectations. Relocating to a state with significantly lower taxation doesn’t hurt, either. We make decisions and live with them.

                • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 06/28/2019 - 09:39 am.

                  One of your “good decisions” was to go into a very lucrative field with high barriers to entry, and (evidently) make a pile of money at it. That gave you the wherewithal to retire, move out of state, and post comments grousing about liberals back in the old neighborhood.

                  Why didn’t I think of doing that?

                  • Submitted by Paul Yochim on 06/28/2019 - 09:23 pm.

                    Mr. (or Ms.) Holbrook, My decision to leave Minnesota was made before I even arrived. I had always intended on retiring in Wyoming. Regarding your comment about medicine being a lucrative field with significant barriers to entry, would you care to name a few?

                    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 07/01/2019 - 11:26 am.

                      “Significant barriers to entry” include, but are not limited to, very high academic standards and a limited number of educational options, not to mention a very lengthy period of demanding training.

                      I don’t say the high barriers are not justified; I’m merely saying that they exist.

  7. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 06/25/2019 - 09:44 am.

    A rubber band response to Trumpism just like Trumpism is a rubber band to everything Obama.

    There are plenty of common sense, meet in the “sorta middle” solutions here:

    1. The lowered interest rates stated previously for new and refinanced debt.

    2. Penalizing schools with lousy grad and placement records with more costly or no path in a new system: A lousy school just creates more credit risks: make them accountable for their failings.

    3. If you graduate and get a job, allow aggressive tax credits for student loan repayment: like for the first 5 years all of your federal taxes are credited towards student loan repayment. It is a double winner: the student gets loans repaid and the economy gets new workers motivated to get out and get that first job as soon as possible and at the best pay possible to take advantage of a great path to loan repayment.

    Ideas like these find the middle ground and show some respect for the kids who worked hard to “pay as you go” and the family that sacrificed to build college funds.

    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/25/2019 - 11:02 am.

      So those kids unfortunate enough to graduate during s time of recession, through no fault of their own, are to be penalized for the lack of job prospects? Similarly those who graduate and find themselves pulled back by familial obligations, or that wish to start a business of their own, as opposed to being some else’s employee? Kind of hard to see how a 100% tax credit would be percieved any differently than forgiveness by those not eligible for their receipt, not to mention the fact that the only possible benefit they might provide is kicking the debt bomb 5 years down the road. Wage levels for most fields will still not be commensurate with what is needed to service the debt by that point. It’s as if folks are unaware of the actual numbers here, were talking student loan amounts that rival the cost of homes, and not just for “fancy” private school educations. 20 years ago, I incurred 25k in loan debt to attend the U of MN, that number is paltry today, at the U ,I believe, its quadrupled. Oh and btw, that WAS while I worked 40 hours a week, and carried a full credit load. Its just not 1975 (or even 1985) anymore folks.

      • Submitted by Tom Anderson on 06/25/2019 - 10:22 pm.

        In 1999 U of M tuition was $4160 times four is $16,640.

        • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/26/2019 - 06:27 am.

          Amazing that you can figure out a credit load, based on intuition. You’re also leaving out the mandatory dorm stay of one full school year. 16640×4 is 66560, so I’m failing to see your point. You do realize that everyone doesn’t take the same number of credits, depending on a major, right?

          • Submitted by John Miller on 06/26/2019 - 03:34 pm.

            The U of MN has a set tuition for full time students that take 12 or more credits. So there would be no need to estimate. I would say Tom Anderson got it right.

          • Submitted by Tom Anderson on 06/26/2019 - 09:48 pm.

            Just going by the U of M numbers for 1999. Not sure about the mandatory one year dorm stay that you mentioned (and multiplied by 4 for some reason) being in effect back then, but everyone doesn’t choose to stay on campus, or go to the U of M either. I just noticed a $25,000 dollar loan for a $16,000 education.

            • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/27/2019 - 09:32 am.

              Yes, when I attended, all freshman were required to live in an on campus dorm for their first year. Couldn’t tell you if that is still a requirement.

              • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/28/2019 - 01:40 pm.

                Required to live on campus first year? That’s totally bogus.

                • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/28/2019 - 06:23 pm.

                  Umm, no, it wasn’t, as I experienced it. Rationale as I recall was to “build community in a largely commuter campus”. Mind you this was pre-building boom on the East Bank, so off campus housing was limited to the decrepit Dinkytown stock, and the couple of newish apartment blocks that existed at the time. It may well have changed now that the area is full of “luxury development”.

    • Submitted by Joe Schantz on 06/25/2019 - 11:16 am.

      Give the current state of higher ed costs…’pay as you go’ and ‘sacrificing to build college funds’ are outdated concepts.

      • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 06/25/2019 - 01:26 pm.

        Well, not exactly.

        I still know many parents who are building college funds or plans for payment for their kids. And most of these funds will be supplemented by student loans.

        And I also know kids/adults who are slowing their educational progress to enable wage earning time to help with tuition. And they too often supplement their earnings with student loans.

        Call me a self serving capitalist; but, getting skilled workers out of “basic training”, which college is, and into the work force is a critical need in today’s economy. And to incentivize that through our tax code is likely a better expenditure of tax dollars than another tax cut for the 1% (call me a self serving socialist).

        • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/25/2019 - 01:38 pm.

          No, if employers want “basic” job training, THEY can fund it, on their own time. College is about crafting functional citizens and a cohesive society, NOT turning out drones for corporate America.

          • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 06/25/2019 - 02:38 pm.

            So, a newly minted mechanical engineer from the U of M is a corporate drone and the art history grad is a functional citizen in our cohesive society?

            The evil corporations I work with desire engineers from 4 year schools and technologists from our 2 year technical college system: tool makers, automation technicians, etc…

            The evil corporations know from experience that when these folks are hired, first job out of school, immediate productivity does not occur: school has given them a basic foundation and a proven ability to learn. And then the evil corporation invests in developing an employee who later contributes to evil success and evil profits. And if all these evil things come together we have a functional, cohesive society…

            • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/25/2019 - 03:55 pm.

              Excepting of course when those folks do things like band together to question why they aren’t getting a larger slice of those “evil” corporate profits, or dare to vote in a manner contrary to the wishes of those “evil” corporations. Your engineering grads, and their lack of intellectual curiosity regarding such topics, are NOT functional citizens, and while they might make for a cohesive corporate office, do NOT make for a cohesive society.

              • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 06/26/2019 - 08:47 am.


                “lack of intellectual curiosity”

                To simply clump all engineers into the single, convenient bucket of corporate clones, incapable of creative thought is beyond comprehension. You obviously have not had any meaningful interactions with these folks for any extended period of time.

                In engineering speak, they are normally distributed across all traits of life: right to left politically, poor to rich and the motivation to get there, cautious to adventurous, risk adverse to risk taking. You name it, other than a somewhat common academic preparation they are as diverse as any other segment of society. From a Peace Corp volunteer living in a hut in Cameroon working on a drinking water project to a person in front of a design station at GM.

              • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 06/26/2019 - 09:09 am.

                I’m generally in sympathy with your views on higher education, but I have to call time out on the view that engineers lack intellectual curiosity. Some of the most creative and imaginative people I’ve known have been engineers. I’ll also hazard a guess that there are more engineers familiar with the novels of Dickens than there are English majors who have so much as heard of the four Maxwell equations (and looking them up on Wikipedia when someone makes a reference to them is not the same thing).

                My own liberal education was heavily weighted towards philosophy and literature, but science and math (four years of each!) were considered no less essential to a complete education.

                • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/26/2019 - 09:36 am.

                  You’ve met different engineers than I, apparently. Those I’ve interacted with were the most concrete (as in immovable) black and white thinkers I’ve had the displeasure to converse with, and displayed a social ethic that can only be described as robotic. Not to mention they were objectivists, one and all.

  8. Submitted by Tim Smith on 06/25/2019 - 11:08 am.

    If I paid off my loans decades ago will there be college reparations?

    This is a naive and quite ridiculous pander and power grab policy idea. It coddles the young even more and lets colleges off the hook, sort of like how health care and Rx companies are off the hook for their pricing.

    • Submitted by Joe Schantz on 06/25/2019 - 11:22 am.

      Decades ago college was cheaper and wages were higher so…no.

      I imagine it’s tough to see politicians offer up ideas that don’t directly benefit you. Imagine for a moment how millenials have felt for the last few election cycles when politicians ‘”pander” to boomers about health care, prescription drug prices, medicare, and social security. Just because these issues don’t affect you (and really, they do) does not mean they’re not a worthwhile investment.

  9. Submitted by Pat Terry on 06/25/2019 - 11:20 am.

    Are there some problems with this? Sure, as some of the commenters have pointed out.

    But here is the thing: we spent 2 trillion dollars (and counting) to invade Iraq, which accomplished nothing other than killing a lot of people, destabilizing the Middle East and flooding the world with more refugees.

    Spending the same amount of money on student debt forgiveness would be an infinitely better use of the money. It would provide an immense economic stimulus as people buried in debt would be able to spend their money on thing more useful things (like buying homes and starting businesses, although flatscreen TVs and more avocado toast would boost the economy as well). People stuck in jobs just to make those payments can pursue their dreams instead. Maybe even art literature.

    And for the record, my parents weren’t wealthy. I had college and law school loans and have paid them off in their entirety after many years. I certainly would have rather spent that money on other things, but I really don’t understand the attitude that if you had to suffer, everyone else should too. Do young adults make bad choices sometimes? Sure, but when those bad choices involve career and loan decisions, as opposed to, say, criminal behavior, should they be saddled by those choices for the rest of their lives? I don’t think so.

  10. Submitted by John Helgerson on 06/25/2019 - 11:26 am.

    This insane proposal is dead on arrival. Paying offfveryone’s student loan debt means no consequences for bad decisions, lender’s high interest rates, and no incentive to take any responsibility for taking on too much debt. The free tuition gives education institutions free rein to remain high-cost and no incentive to rein in rising costs. Moreover, history shows that the tax surcharges proposed do not work or produce enough revenue. .

  11. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/25/2019 - 11:46 am.

    This crises was create the neoliberal zeal for privatization, and there is no neoliberal solution. When Al Gore re-invented government he pretty much abolished the Federal Student Loan program that myself and Ms. Sandness used get pay for our educations. The result was private lenders, who raised rates and engaged in predatory lending.

    Since lenders make more money on larger lone’s, suddenly colleges and universities found the that de facto tuition caps were eliminated and they started raising tuitions.

    Then the Republicans did they’re budget cutting tax cutting trick (with Democratic cooperation) and started cutting State University budgets, and THAT provided even more rationale for raising tuition’s. Finally, colleges and universities adopted corporate models that dictated bloated executive and administrative regimes. And here we are.

    We have two problems here. 1) Millions of young people are stranded with huge college debt that they and their parents were maneuvered into by the process described above. This debt burden is toxic and harmful to the general economy and the individual students.

    This debt regime was engineered by neoliberals and a financial sector that thought it was good idea at the time. One can make a powerful case that students are the victims of negligent and toxic policy. Since the banks have already made billions of dollars off of this predatory loan regime, and colleges and universities likewise made THEIR money from the higher tuition’s, These debts could be canceled at this point without “damaging” either the lenders or the universities.

    From an economic perspective the act of zeroing out over a trillion dollars in student to be a significant boost to the economy. Such debt cancellations are NOT unprecedented, and they don’t have an awful record of success.

    2) The second problem is current tuition and educational cost. We have a tuition bubble that needs to pop. No under graduate degree actually costs $30+k to deliver, much less $60k or $80k. We can bring these tuition’s down by restoring State funding, AND recreating a Federal loan agency that provide low interest non-profit service. OR we can simply require that State Universities provide tuition free degrees to state residents with high school diplomas.

    Tuition’s are currently bloated, just as health care costs. A huge chunk of the U of M budget for instance is devoted to “branding” and marketing to international students and non-resident students. If the mission were re-oriented towards it’s land grant objective of offering a college education to Minnesotan’s, the operating budget, marketing, and “branding” costs could be reduced significantly. Likewise with other State Universities.

    This means that “taxpayers” wouldn’t bear the burden of $50k tuitions, tuition costs cold be controlled. A 4 year degree at the U of M could probably come in at around $10k – $12k instead of the current $14k. No one at the U of M has made a dent in the bloated administrative costs, and re-orienting towards quality instruction rather than designing a college “experience” as per branding could very well bring costs under control.

  12. Submitted by Greg Smith on 06/25/2019 - 11:50 am.

    Of course this doesn’t address the real problem of ever inflating college expense.
    Same solution to everything, tax someone else to pay for what I want.

    • Submitted by Joe Schantz on 06/25/2019 - 12:55 pm.

      Yes, and? We want roads and bridges so we tax people that drive cars. How is this different?

      Also it will take years/decades to reduce college costs; that does nothing to address the current crisis of student debt. Underwater borrowers can’t buy houses, start families or businesses, or take a chance on better opportunities and your think the most pressing problem is administrative bloat? Ew.

  13. Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/25/2019 - 12:54 pm.

    Well any proposal that seems to put Mr’s. Terry and Udstrand in anything resembling agreement would seem to have quite a stamp of approval, I should think.

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 06/25/2019 - 02:12 pm.

      Hahaha. Very true.

      I think Paul and I generally agree on things policy-wise, but just have different approaches on how to get there.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/26/2019 - 09:25 am.

      Yeah, what Pat said: “I think Paul and I generally agree on things policy-wise, but just have different approaches on how to get there.”

  14. Submitted by Julie Moore on 06/25/2019 - 01:43 pm.

    Although in print it looks good, isn’t this quite the disservice to those who went to smaller in-state colleges to save money rather than choosing the flashy out-of-state college and taking loans? I have a relative who chose a $65,000/year grad program at a private school over a local school with the same program because he “wanted to move to a cool place”. Great. But . . .

    I agree with some above, we need affordable education, but if you want to choose big, expensive experiences you should have to pay. I know, unfair to those who can’t afford it, but not everyone can get a first place trophy.

    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/25/2019 - 02:16 pm.

      The flash out of state school is not 65k, THAT IS the “affordable” in state school. The “flashy” out of state private education is 150-200k. It’s not your fault I expect, folks just don’t pay attention to things that do not directly affect them at that moment I guess…

      • Submitted by Tom Anderson on 06/25/2019 - 10:24 pm.

        St. Cloud State annual tuition and fees are presently $8265 times four is $33,060

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 06/26/2019 - 09:10 am.

          Which is fine, if you live within commuting distance of St. Cloud.

          • Submitted by John Miller on 06/26/2019 - 03:41 pm.

            If you are in driving distance then choose one of 30 state colleges and 7 state universities with 54 campuses throughout Minnesota.

          • Submitted by Tom Anderson on 06/26/2019 - 09:53 pm.

            But choosing where to attend school is every student’s choice I think. St. Cloud State was just and example showing that Mr. Haas is a little off on his cost claim of in-state schools. A posting St. Cloud State professor lives in Mpls. so the radius seems to be pretty large by the way.

  15. Submitted by Thom Roethke on 06/25/2019 - 02:23 pm.

    This is incredibly regressive policy. It’s basically a giveaway to the upper middle class, who are most likely to go to college. If this is what passes for a progressive policy proposal – working class people paying taxes that help subsidize upper class people’s ambitions – then progressivism has run off the rails.

    Why should I invest in my future earnings if those who didn’t get to go to college can do it for me? I guess it shows that at the end of the day people really are self-interested.

    That said, given that it will mostly subsidize upper-middle class white people, It doesn’t surprise me at all that Sanders’ and Omar’s supporters would be cheerleaders for this.

    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/25/2019 - 04:02 pm.

      Umm, you are aware there are proposals for free college education as well, right? While it might be true that folks who haven’t attended college don’t benefit from THIS plan, there are OTHER plans to address their needs as well. It’s not a zero sum game. Beyond that, how many if the folks you mention are harmed by an investment transaction tax. Do a lot of jobs these folks hold offer retirement funds? I know my “upper middle class” one does not, and as such, it wouldn’t affect me at all, given I have no stake in the wall street casino.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/26/2019 - 09:01 am.

      Two things: First, college educations have long since ceased to be “upper class” extravagance’s. Post high school educations and degrees are necessity in the current US economy. The vast majority of students carrying these debt burdens are not “wealthy” or from wealthy families. American parents are just willing to do whatever they have to get their kids a college degree. Second, and I see that we’ve forgotten to mention this thus far in the comment thread… Sanders, Warren, Omar, etc. aren’t just talking about college and university degrees, they also want to include trade school and technical degrees and certificates as well. There should be more emphasis on that fact.

  16. Submitted by Paul Yochim on 06/25/2019 - 02:38 pm.

    For the IRS purposes forgiven debt is subjected to federal income tax. How do Rep. Omar and Senator Sanders plan on addressing that? After all, it’s only fair, isn’t it?

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/26/2019 - 09:06 am.

      Congress can pass a law exempting this debt relief from income tax requirements. Besides, most of these students and parent would probably be happy to trade in a $30k debt for a $10k tax bill. You could structure the tax bill as payment plan, essentially converting it back into the old Federal Student Loan program.

    • Submitted by Gabe Schneider on 06/26/2019 - 03:58 pm.

      Hey all. The current bill language under part “e” excludes the debt relief from taxable income.

  17. Submitted by Henry Johnson on 06/25/2019 - 05:54 pm.

    I think there are some things that can be done in terms of lowering interest rates and so on, but I think the real problem is a broken educational system.

    Contrast our system with Germany’s for example.

    There, they encourage students to decide what career path they want to take in middle school, and to discover what their aptitudes are (no point in educating to be a rocket scientist, if you just don’t have the ability for it), and then guide them into education that PREPARES THEM FOR THAT CAREER.

    That career may require a focused college education, or it may require trade school education.

    Here on the other had, we have a large percentage of students who enter college without ever haven given any amount of real in-depth thought to what they want to do for a career, and they then kind of fumble their way thru expensive college years, perhaps changing majors multiple times, and WRACKING UP HUGE STUDENT LOANS on this aimless journey.

    Let’s be honest, our society has also sort of glamorized college as in many ways just a place to have a great time more than as a place to prepare one for a career (e.g. – the movie ‘Animal house’, and dozens of other shows) – and that’s what a lot of kids do – the education is just an annoying sideline, the parties and sports and fraternities and sororities and socializing are the main thing.

    That’s a mistake for a country that wants a good future obviously, fun as it might be to have a great time partying thru college.

    Over in Asia, the kids are SERIOUS about education and studying hard many hours of the day and I would guess they have a clear career goal in mind as they are working away many hours of the day to achieve (instead of parting).

    So I think we should start to model our systems after Germany and Asia, and really focus on choosing a career in middle and high school.

    For many people, a good 2 year trade school would provide a very good paying career and limited school debt, not everyone needs to go to college at all.

    I read some comments about how if someone is really interested in art history, shouldn’t they be able to study that?, and I’d say sure.

    But don’t expect the public to pay off your $50,000 or $75,000 in college debt, to finance essentially what is a personal hobby.

    In an ideal world, I guess we’d all make great incomes doing whatever we wanted including studying fascinating soap bubble patterns, but we’re stuck with this world, and in this one, it makes sense to try to find a career that pays a decent living, and if your lucky, also one that you really enjoy.

    But if you can’t find a career that you both enjoy and would pay a decent living, you do what people all over the world do – prepare for a career that pays the bills, and pursue your art history or whatever on the side for fun. Nothing wrong with that.

    Or, you accept that you’ll be working at Starbucks and paying off your student loan for many years – but we shouldn’t ask the general public to indulge a hobby by paying large student loans to study it.

    And for democrats, winning back the blue-collar democrats to defeat Trump isn’t helped by proposing wiping out student loan debt IMO.

    No one in government is rushing to pay the working guy’s debts and he or she probably resents someone who went thru 4 years of college to get a worthless art history degree, and then expects society to write off the debts they wracked up getting that degree.

    Society has an actual NEED for many skill sets, so filling those needs is really what public education should be in place for, not to cater to people’s hobbies, in my opinion.

    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/26/2019 - 06:39 am.

      So you’re essentially labeling art, as a whole, as a hobby. Along with anything YOU’VE decided is inessential to society. (Who else gets to be an arbiter? I want a turn!) Then, in the same breath, saying each person shall be divided, (by caste?) by age 12 or so, and forced into whatever career path a battery of standardized testing deems appropriate? But the government stepping in to pay off loans is a bridge too far? Astounding.

      • Submitted by Henry Johnson on 06/26/2019 - 10:27 pm.

        No Matt, you have totally misrepresented my post – it’s not me who gets to decide what’s “unessential”, it’s the job market place – that has nothing at all to do with me!

        I also never said art was unessential, I just said it’s probably not very likely that a person with an art history degree is going to make a very good living, just as it’s unlikely that very many young people will become NBA or NFL stars – there’s just a very limited size job market there.

        It’s totally their choice to pursue that degree, and wrack up a bunch of debt doing so, it’s a free country.

        All I’m saying is that if in fact that doesn’t lead to a job with a living wage, don’t ask the public to pay for that education, because in fact if it didn’t lead to a career it did turn out in fact to be essentially a hobby.

        If that person ends up actually working at Starbucks, how can we honestly say that that art history degree led to a career, when peddling coffee has nothing to do with art history?

        I also never said anything about people being forced into any career as you’ve stated – so you’re putting a whole lot of inaccurate words in my mouth in your reply.

        I did say we should encourage young people to seek out and explore what their career interests are. That is NOT forcing them into any specific career path, it’s just encouraging them to explore their potential choices so that educational dollars are spent more wisely.

        People are free to pursue whatever interests they want to, all I’m saying is they need to take RESPONSIBILITY for the choices they make, and not ask the government to bail them out financially if those choices don’t pan out very well.

        There is a lot of ‘entitlement’ sentiment in quite a few of these posts, as in the attitude that the world owes me a wonderful fulfilling vocation, with a very good salary, and no student loans.

        Again, I WISH we lived in that world I really do. I’d move to that fantasy world immediately!

        I love music, and I wish I could get paid a very nice salary to sit around all day and play guitar/keyboards and ‘appreciate’ other people’s great music. But I can’t find anyone job postings for that!

        That’s just not the world we live in sadly.

        The fact is, the jobs marketplace is only willing to pay good salaries to careers that there is a demand for – and a lot of these majors just aren’t valued highly in the jobs market place – so sorry, but that’s just the truth.

        But please don’t make that about me being an ‘arbiter’, its the market place that is deciding wages, not me!

        If I had God-like powers, I’d make us all wealthy, health and happy with no problems and with no tragedy, suffering or pain in life.

        Unfortunately, I have no such powers, nor does anyone else I know.

        And I am definitely not saying the arts are ‘unessential’, all I’m saying is that as a rule, they don’t tend to pay well as a career (except for the super-star performers and creative types in those fields, which actually an art historian is not, they study art, rather than making it).

        Honestly, I love music, and I admire many musicians, because even quite talented musicians often can’t support themselves thru their music, most have day jobs to pay the bills and then play at night.

        But they LOVE playing, and so you could even say they are ‘rich’ in that respect, as one definition of being rich is doing what you love doing.

        But as a rule, I don’t think you hear them whining about how unfair it is that again with the exception of the stars, musicians tend to have trouble earning a decent living.

        They probably knew from an early age that they would very likely be poor financially by choosing to focus so much on music unless they got real lucky and ‘made it big’, but they decided to follow their bliss, and accept the crummy apartment and the day-job as the price to be paid for being able to play music after-hours.

        Hat’s off to them for making that trade-off, and accepting responsibility for it.

        They aren’t expecting the taxpayer to give them a grant so they can own a nice condo, drive a new car, and have a nice financially secure life, they are in touch with reality, and they understand the jobs marketplace.

        They don’t live in a fantasy world where people are owed a wonderful life as an entitlement – they know that’s not the world we live in, and never has been.

        We’re actually very lucky now, at least now there are dozens of good-paying careers one can pursue, whereas back in the middle ages, if you lived in a rural area in Europe for example where the only real business was perhaps a large salt mine, for most residents you pretty much either worked in that salt mine, or you starved to death.

        Those people undoubtedly felt it was ‘unfair’ that they had to work in that mine or perish too, and that they were entitled to a better life, but again we don’t live in a fantasy world where we get a great life as an entitlement.

        I wish we did, but we don’t

        We have to live within the limits of reality, and make the best of it, and accept responsibility for our own choices, and not expect a government 22 trillion dollars in debt to bail us out financially when our investment in education didn’t pan out very well.

        I guess I’d ask those who think the government should assume more trillions of dollars of debt to wipe out student loans if they think it’s fair that that additional debt should be added to the debt burden already being placed on all the young children growing up now, and on those children who will be born in future years?

        They are in great danger of being crushed financially by the debt burden already being placed on them, should we really add even more?

        • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/27/2019 - 09:40 am.

          Please list the consequences of greater governmental debt upon future generations that they should be so concerned about. Also, you’ve stated that there are “dozens” of viable career options, seriously? So anyone NOT within that ridiculously small frame is just supposed to accept their diminished lot, out of some moral sense of “responisbility”? What is a fantasy is the belief that a person’s value, and their prospects, shall be determined by some fantastical “invisible hand of the market” as opposed to conscious decisionmaking by the society in which they exist.

          • Submitted by Henry Johnson on 06/27/2019 - 03:05 pm.

            ” Please list the consequences of greater governmental debt upon future generations that they should be so concerned about ”

            Wow, I’m surprised that you believe that greater and greater government debt is a free ride, and will have no damaging consequences for future generations to deal with, but okay, I’ll list some probable, and in fact unfortunately probably inevitable and very serious consequences.

            Just as we as individuals can’t keep borrowing more and more and more money without having our credit line cutoff eventually, neither can a government.

            Our government is staying in business on a credit card essentially and someday the credit line on that card will be capped.

            No one can say when, but a time will come when people and investors and governments REFUSE TO BUY enough newly issued treasury bills to support the approximately 1 trillion new debt we need each year to pay the deficit governments obligations for that year.

            The faith required to believe that those treasury bills will pay interest and and that the principal will be repaid will tend to slip away more and more as we go more and more into debt.

            Think of that person you know who you lent money to. Every time they came back to borrow more, you were more and more reluctant to loan them even more, as you got more and more worried that maybe you’d never see your money returned to you.

            The same can happen to governments – the faith in them can dissipate and just eventually run out.

            Someday, the US government will hold it’s usual auction to sell new treasury bills, and they won’t be able to sell all of them.

            This alone would probably spark a growing panic to start in the financial markets, and interest rates on new t-bills would have to be increased to sell the bills offered at the next T-bill auction.

            Governments, and institutions holding those T-bills will be alarmed by this development, and probably start to ditch them, leading to big losses for everyone still holding their T-bills as their value dropped, and more chaos in the financial markets – including the bond market as a whole and the stock market as well.

            Financial markets love stability – they would react very badly to a government auction failing to sell it’s allotment of new T-bills.

            When people and governments start becoming reluctant to purchase the 1 trillion additional dollars we need each year to pay for all those government programs (and for the interest payments), then at least four major things begin to happen (with many other damaging ripple effects):

            1. The interest rate on new treasury bills will have to be greatly increased before anyone will buy them, meaning more and more of the government’s income will have to go to service interest on that debt,
            That means less money to pay for other government expenditures.

            2. That increase to T-bill rates will ripple into all kinds of debt, including the LIBOR rate that is used to set most personal and business loan and adjustable mortgage debt rates.

            3. The value of existing T-bills will drop seriously, financially endangering all the governments, businesses, institutions and individuals holding those T-bills.

            4. Worst of all perhaps – the US government will be forced to drastically cut back it’s spending, since the money will simply not be there to indulge in any more deficit spending – exactly as when we as individual hit our credit card limit – that’s it, we literally can’t do any additional credit card spending.

            As a result, social security, food stamps, welfare, all the government entitlements and services we now enjoy would be forced to be reduced or eliminated.

            That of course would be hugely damaging and destructive. Think of millions of people on social security no longer able to pay for groceries or other essentials and what a hardship that would be.

            The impact of these events I think would be pretty much catastrophic and would rapidly evolve over the course of weeks or months into a ‘great depression’ (or worse) situation I think, with high unemployment, civil unrest with fewer police on the payroll to control it, and so on..

            Interest rates in general would spike, make it very difficult for new businesses to start and forcing individuals with debt and businesses with debt to cut back strongly on their spending and to perhaps no longer be able to pay for basic necessities, and businesses laying off workers.

            Large numbers of government workers would be laid off, the funds simply wouldn’t be there to pay them, leading to high unemployment.

            Interest rates on credit cards would spike correspondingly higher, really hurting all those carrying that debt.

            Businesses would be badly hurt by their own higher interest charge burden, the difficulty to obtain new financing, and the depressed economy for their goods and services in a deep recession with many out of work.

            The purchasing power of our dollars would also drop in a corresponding way, if the world sees us as a debtor nation that’s had it’s credit line capped.

            Inflation would spike to 1970’s level or beyond, as the purchasing power of our US dollars dropped along with the loss of faith in our country’s credit worthiness and perceived lack of financial soundness.

            All of this might also cause another 2008 style financial crisis, with major financial institutions in crisis mode, ATM machines no longer working, individual and business credit lines capped, etc., etc.

            With all the people out of work, no longer receiving social security or welfare or food stamps, there would e spike in civil unrest and inadequate government funds to pay for the police force to manage that unrest.

            With that mountain of government debt still just sitting there, future generations would inherit not just a greatly diminished standard of living, fewer jobs, and being paid in a currency that has smaller purchasing power, but in addition would still have a big huge government debt that would need to have it’s interest serviced, at rates much higher than today’s.

            And if the government defaulted on it’s T-bill interest payments, wow, then those T-bills would rapidly lose most of their value (why hold a bond that doesn’t pay interest?), and I’d say that would almost certainly cause a worldwide financial crisis that would make 2008 look like a picnic.

            And our US dollars, the “full faith and credit of the US government” at that point would be a joke, so inflation might even go beyond 1970s levels to the kind of levels seen in Germany in the 1930’s.

            In other words, the consequences of an overwhelming debt load could be not just significant, but huge.

            So that’s a list of serious consequences to future generations, and to us for that matter, if the US government credit line gets shut off while we are alive.

            I know that we are all so used to living a stable country, with a stable currency, very low inflation, and a seemingly endless government credit line, so that we have become very complacent, and the description above might sound like wild exaggeration to some.

            But unfortunately, I’m not seeing how the consequences I’ve described above could be avoided, if the US government credit line is ever capped, and I don’t see how we can avoid it being capped eventually.

            And I’d point out to how we’ve seen already, in 2008, how the financial system can start to fairly quickly unravel with little warning despite our comforting beliefs that we live in a nice, safe, stable financial system.

            We might get lucky and not have it be capped for another 10 years, but I think given the very, very serious consequences, we as a country should really get serious about reducing our deficit spending.

            And yes, I agree with liberals on the board that that should include reductions in military spending, increasing taxes for the rich, etc, etc, but it also does include all of the leftist proposals too – like forgiving student loan debt, paying reparations, etc. etc.

            All of that spending counts, whether for programs the right pushes, or for programs the left wants.

            It all adds to that pile of debt that threatens our entire way of life, and the lives of future generations too.

            • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/27/2019 - 05:05 pm.

              You know what would REALLY help with all this deficit spending you’re so concerned about? Raising the tax rates back to the levels at which they were maintained for the overwhelming majority of our countries existence, taxing capital gains as regular income, taxing vast accumulations of latent wealth, taxing hidden offshore accounts, increasing wages (and the tax returns associated with them), gutting the defense budget, and ending corporate tax giveaways. THAT might actually do something, but I imagine its not in your plans.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/26/2019 - 09:20 am.

      In addition to Matt’s response, I would remind everyone that the proposals for tuition free State Universities applies to State Universities. Taxpayers are not being asked to pay for boutique degrees at expensive private colleges under this plan.

      I would also have to add that while we can complain about the “path” that some students choose, none of us can select a better path or make those choices for others. And besides, most employers aren’t looking at degrees with direct applications, they’re simply looking the fact that someone has the degree. Someone with an Art History degree isn’t limited to Art History job applications, there ARE related fields, and skill sets that employers will find applicable. Very few people have ever ended up in careers related to their college majors, that’s not new. But having the degree directly correlates to higher incomes.

      But yeah, our education system is screwed up, and we should fix it.

      • Submitted by Henry Johnson on 06/27/2019 - 10:56 am.

        Paul, I agree we can’t choose other people’s career paths, nor should we, that’s their business.

        But my argument is that we as taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to SUBSIDIZE the path’s they choose when they fail to lead to be a good ‘investment’ (the loan debt was not paid for by a job with a good income).

        I also agree that many people get jobs that are unrelated to their degree, so if I am hiring sales people for example, maybe my reasoning, well, you got good grades in college and are therefore probably pretty bright, so I’ll give you a try.

        But I think that also sort of makes my point that our current educational system is UNBELIEVABLY COST IN-EFFICIENT, which is really what I was getting at.

        4 years and many thousands of hours were spent on studying a subject that has very little use in the marketplace ( art history, or music appreciation or ?), and in the end, it helped me get a job only because it was used as a defacto intelligence test?

        It seems like that we as a society could have accomplished that objective without wasting 4 years, thousands of hours and $50,000 of student loan debt, and probably $50,000 of public cost to help pay for that education that will never actually be used on a job.

        I have a good friend who ended up with a career as a computer programmer, who’s degree was in biology, so not a real efficient use of tax payer dollars there.

        He is super-bright so he picked up programming on his own with self-study, and managed to talk his way into an entry level programmer position (which most can’t do without formal training), but dissecting frogs did nothing to prepare him for that career.

        I also have an aquaintance who is currently in college doing graduate work towards a masters in philosophy.

        I asked him if he had a unique philosophy of his own that planned to write a book about and so on. He said no, he just loved the subject..

        I then asked him if he plans to become a philosophy professor,and he said he hadn’t really thought about that too much.

        So of course, I’m wondering what he’s planning on doing with all that education (5 or 6 years and counting)?

        His actual job is as a fitness trainer at the gym I attend, where he probably makes $15 an hour.

        So again, we have lots of expensive education that has little or no actual use in the job marketplace.

        I like the guy, but I’m sorry, if he has $75,000 in student loan debt, I as a taxpayer don’t want to pay for what I’m thinking may just turn out to be a hobby degree, since he didn’t really seem to have any actual plan to use that degree to get one of the few philosopher professorship jobs that exist out there.

        We as a country are trying hard to maintain our high but slipping standard of living, and that requires us producing college grads with skills that will ABSOLUTELY BE NEEDED to create high paying jobs in the future and and to create new inventions and so on.

        Otherwise China, Asia and Europe will leave us in the dust, and our standard of living will tank even further, as we work for slave wages with our art history, music appreciation, philosophy and english literature degrees hanging on the wall in the apartment we share with other poor roommates who couldn’t afford a place of their own either.

        Instead of this blanket “college for all” concept with no limitations, If it was my call, I’d encourage government to selectively subsidize degrees in the sciences and engineering and in trades that we as a country are short-staffed in, that’s what we really need to maintain our standard of living as a country in the future.

        And on student loan debt, I’m sorry, but those who got a degree in subjects that don’t actually have a viable career path shouldn’t have taxpayers ending-up up being stuck with the large tabs for their hobby degrees..

        I wish we were a rich country that could indulge that, but we aren’t – we’re a poor, indebted country with a bloated and ever-expanding credit line that will eventually be cut off.

        • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/27/2019 - 12:52 pm.

          Again, Mr. Johnson, who will be “cutting off our credit” ? You realize that 70% of federal debts is owned by US, as in the citizenry, right? In what scenario do you foresee us cutting off our nose to spite our face. Please don’t tell me you believe the United States government, the most powerful and wealthy institution on the face of planet earth is analogous to some random business enterprise, or worse a household budget. That is simply farcical.

          • Submitted by Henry Johnson on 06/27/2019 - 07:42 pm.

            What is farcical is that you think the US government is the “weathiest institution on planet earth”. That’s just a big misconception.

            We USED to be wealthy country, but not any more.

            Being 22 trillion in debt, and adding another trillion or more every year (much more if you had your way) is not being in a state of “wealth”..

            We are a debtor nation with a credit line that hasn’t been capped yet, that certainly doesn’t make us “wealthy”.

            And the country’s financial situation is not as different from that of an individual’s or a businesses as you think IMO.

            But I hope you are right and I am wrong on this, and the US debt bubble can just keep growing and growing and growing, without ever bursting.

            That’s never happened to any other country in the history of the world, but I hope we have some magic mojo here in the US that can make that happen, as I would love it if the bill never came do for all this never-ending deficit spending.

        • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/27/2019 - 02:16 pm.

          “But my argument is that we as taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to SUBSIDIZE the path’s they choose when they fail to lead to be a good ‘investment’ (the loan debt was not paid for by a job with a good income).”

          Dude, then why should be “forced” to pay for elementary and high school educations? No matter what degree or post high school education you choose to pursue, there’s no guarantee of affluence or success. And again, who’s standard of success do you want to use? And what’s your time frame?

          You need to understand that social investments aren’t about counting the returns on individuals, nor is this another excuse to set up some kind of disciplinary regime that punishes people for living their lives the way you don’t think they should. Just because someone doesn’t get the kind of job you think they should get after they graduate doesn’t make them a qualified failure. The degree costs what it costs no matter what happens after someone gets it. It’s the collective benefit of debt relief that produces economic and social advantages. This isn’t about creating an opportunity for YOU or the government to step into peoples lives and issue judgments as to whether or not people are succeeding to your satisfaction.

          • Submitted by Henry Johnson on 06/27/2019 - 08:18 pm.

            Dude, like Matt, you’re putting all kinds of words into my mouth that I never said.

            I made it clear in my posts that people are free to do whatever they want with their lives, including taking college courses that likely will never pay the bills.

            I also never called people whose education doesn’t pay the bills”failures” as you are falsely claiming..

            In fact, I gave musicians as an example of people who the world might not consider a “success” if they never make it beyond the playing in local bars level, but that I personally often do consider a “success”, because they are spending a lot of time doing something they love.

            I simply said we all should take responsibility for our choices, and not expect the government to pay our debts.

            You ridiculously talk about nonsensical concepts such “as the collective benefits of debt reduction” – as if some magic wand magic made the debt burden just disappear, problem gone – poof!

            No, all you’re doing is taking it off one back and putting it on others. including the massive debt load being placed on future generations.

            And I suppose, like Matt, you think that massive government debt isn’t a burden to future generations, and that the government can just keeping piling on more and more and more and more debt, without that bubble ever bursting and leading to dire consequences.

            I think that’s perhaps the heart of the problem here – you and Matt and many, many others think that we are a rich, rich country, with an never-ending credit line, and so we should therefore just have the government spend away all our problems.

            I’d love it if you were right on that, but I’m afraid you’re not,

            I think eventually the bill come due ‘dude’ for all that never-ending deficit spending, but as I said to Matt, I’d really love to be wrong on that.

            • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/28/2019 - 01:46 pm.

              “No, all you’re doing is taking it off one back and putting it on others. including the massive debt load being placed on future generations.”

              You’re assuming that the debt will paid off instead of simply cancelled. Furthermore, I’m not going to explain the concept of collective resources, you can look that up.

        • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/27/2019 - 02:18 pm.

          college for all” concept with no limitations, If it was my call, I’d encourage government to selectively subsidize degrees in the sciences and engineering and in trades that we as a country are short-staffed in, that’s what we really need to maintain our standard of living as a country in the future.

          So beyond merely “helping to decide what career best suits their skills” as you stated previously, you also seek to further segregate the “haves” from the “have nots” through subsidy. What happens to the kids who have aptitudes NOT aligned with those you’ve listed above? Tough luck, sorry for losing the genetic lottery?

      • Submitted by Karen Sandness on 06/27/2019 - 11:23 am.

        Yes, one niece majored in psychology and ended up on the management track at a local Fortune 500 company. Another majored in fashion design and first worked for a company that sold things sort of connected with clothing, but now she is working in a management position at another local Fortune 500 company that has never sold clothing in its entire existence.

        As I look at the experiences of my younger relatives and friends, it appears that getting that first post-college, full-time job is the real challenge. After that, one’s performance in the first job is the key to moving on to other jobs, which may or may not be related to one’s college major.

        Of course, a company looking to hire engineers will hire engineering graduates and a hospital will hire nursing graduates, but when it comes to generic corporate jobs, there is no need to major in business if one is willing to take a few detours.

  18. Submitted by Karen Anderson on 06/26/2019 - 04:37 am.

    This is just Ilner Omar acting like a ditsy teenager again. A lot of folks support for some student loan forgiveness but this bill is extreme and has not a chance of ever passing.

    Alas, the poor people of her district, who are really quite intelligent have a representative is definitely unprepared for her job. Omar seems more and more like the DFL version of Michele Bachmann by the day.

    • Submitted by Joe Schantz on 06/26/2019 - 02:07 pm.

      Come on Karen, you and I both know that Omar/Sanders are proposing an aggressive plan that will get dialed back into more reasonable/acceptable terms through the process. Shoot for the moon…etc.

      Also it’s ILHAN Omar, she’s a competent and qualified congresswoman, and it’s straight up tacky/borderline sexist to compare her to a ‘ditzy teenager’ when she’s doing the work we’ve asked her to do. We can also tell you don’t think her constituents ‘are really quite intelligent’ when you phrase it that way.

      • Submitted by Raj Maddali on 06/26/2019 - 08:45 pm.

        I may not agree with Ilhan Ohmar on this, but its unfair to call her a ditz or whatever. She’s made bold proposals on many issues. Its just that i disagree on this. As you say its a start and thats how things work.

        • Submitted by Karen Anderson on 06/27/2019 - 11:14 pm.

          Unfortunately, after she introduced this bill she posted a video on Twitter showing herself and other rep. celebrating the authoring this bill by dancing like teeny boppers. Yesterday, she posted a similar video of herself applying makeup in front of a mirror. So silly. From reality TV we have now moved to reality Congress.

          This bill and Omar’s goofy behavior just lack the gravitas I need to take her, or any rep, seriously.

  19. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/26/2019 - 09:22 am.

    Nice little opinion analysis about the proposal in WaPo:

  20. Submitted by Tom Crain on 06/26/2019 - 08:19 pm.

    I am a Sanders supporter. I do agree secondary education is too expensive. It (public) should be free. I also agree that assistance should be given to current student loan debtors, but this should not be loan forgiveness. I would support paying all interest on fed student loans and extending terms to lower monthly payments (based on income) plus allow ALL student loans to be included in bankruptcy for those that want that option. BTW, you can thank Joe Biden (and his Republican friends) for the 2005 Bankruptcy bill which was designed to make claiming bankruptcy more difficult. Even the corporate shill Chris Dodd couldn’t stomach a vote for this bill.

    • Submitted by Tom Anderson on 06/27/2019 - 05:28 pm.

      Free college for all creates a population where everyone has a degree, which means that nobody stands out above another. Without a Masters or Doctorate it becomes pretty much the same as graduating high school. Just ask the folks over in the UK.

      • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/28/2019 - 01:27 pm.

        Excepting of course that instead of only a high school education, everyone has the benefit of all that a college education provides. Anathema to a conservative, to be sure, but great news for society.

        • Submitted by Tom Anderson on 06/30/2019 - 10:28 pm.

          A college education is a wonderful thing as is a smart populace, but if everyone has a degree, the “college benefit” disappears. Or perhaps, more correctly, instead of the financial jump from high school grad to college grad, the jump occurs from college grad to master’s grad. And never forget the ability of more people to use something that is free, which of course means even more cost to those paying for it. But there would certainly be way more underemployed people which must be good for something.

          • Submitted by Matt Haas on 07/01/2019 - 09:34 am.

            What a fantastically pessimistic argument. I thought conservatives were supposed to believe in the great optimism of the “market”. Why would the employment market remain static in the face of millions of new college graduates? Especially millions of new college graduates unfettered by overwhelming student debt burdens? What would prevent this new crop of potential entrepreneurs from creating the jobs needed to employ there newly minted skilled brethren? Are you trying to suggest job creation is only undertaken by NON college educated folks, or that they cease to be interested in the process when a highly skilled workforce is there for the asking? I really can’t wrap my head around what you see as a downside here. Beyond the personal, selfish interest in lower taxes, what scares you so much about this prospect? Even if you are correct, and things just shift to a new status quo, society STILL gets the benefit of a more educated, and hopefully more civically engaged, populace, more than worth whatever taxes might be needed to produce it.

      • Submitted by Karen Sandness on 06/28/2019 - 11:44 pm.

        The U.K. has a much lower percentage of students entering higher education than the U.S. For the current year, it was 26-30% of sixth form graduates who entered a university. I couldn’t find any figures on how many graduate.

        In the U.S., about 65% of high school graduates at least start college, but more than half drop out.

        As a former professor, I saw too many students who had no academic interests grumbling their way through college, resenting every course that they didn’t see as leading directly to a job, and refusing to take part in any campus activity that didn’t involve sports or partying. They’d go home for Christmas and January Term (six weeks in all), and never once open a book, not even genre fiction. (I knew that, because as a language teacher, I could ask snoopy questions.) At times, college seemed like a holding tank for affluent late adolescents.

        If I were designing an educational system, I would front-load general education in the K-12 system, so that no one would graduate from high school ignorant of American and world history, the natural sciences, American and English literature, or a foreign language.

        That’s what most countries do, emphasize general education in elementary and secondary school, but in locally controlled systems like ours, a school board that thinks maintaining a winning football team is its most important function will be content with a mediocre academic program.

        In the last two years of high school, students would receive frank vocational guidance. If they had no academic interests, they would be steered away from college and advised on jobs that they could train for in vocational schools or apprenticeships, no matter what their family’s financial status, no matter how much delusional parents thought their pleasant but utterly average child was Ivy League material.

        Of course, one advantage of our system is that it gives late bloomers a second chance, and that would have to continue.

        Everyone–the non-academically oriented students, the academically oriented students, the professors, and the employers–would be happier if all middle class eighteen-year-olds were not funneled through the same system.

  21. Submitted by Mark Kulda on 06/29/2019 - 08:00 pm.

    This proposal is yet another slap in the face to prudent parents who work hard to scrimp and save money to help pay for the child’s education.
    The student loan crisis’s genesis starts with parents who spend profligately and shirk their duty to begin a savings plan.
    Believe it or not there are workshops that help parents who spent money to acquire material goods (instead of saving for college) on how to best hide their assets so that their students qualify for the maximum amount of student aid, a large proportion of which will be student loans.
    For prudent parents who saved money for college? That savings counts against them in the equation for student aid. The student of a saver qualifies for less student aid and can get less in loans. While that is a good thing for them, this proposal punishes them by allowing the profligate spenders to spend wildly when their kids are young, rack up lots of student debt and then get to walk away from it all.
    If we as a society want to stop huge student debt, then we should set an example by REWARDING not punishing people who do the right thing when they start saving for college when their kids are young. We need to strongly encourage, through incentives, to get ahead of the game on the front end. Save as much parental money as possible early and use that to help pay for college. Those kids should get the most forgivable package, not the children of irresponsible parents who spent early and never saved.

    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/29/2019 - 11:54 pm.

      So your plan is to punish children for actions of their parents, over which they have no control? That seems unwise, and rather unlikely to cause the change you’re looking for, as per your claim, it would seem those parents aren’t exactly concerned with the ongoing prospects of their children in the first place. It doesn’t even satisfy a bid for retribution, as the person being harmed played no role in that which caused your ire at all. So, spite it is then?

    • Submitted by Ed Leitze on 06/30/2019 - 03:01 pm.

      I understand you point, but you assume much that all parents are able to do this. Both in time, energy, and finance

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